I ran my first race a few weeks back.
Truth be told, I walked. The plan of course was to run. It was to be my “comeback,” amidst the COVID shutdown and cancer setback, it felt good to physically be able to once again toe a start line and be amongst the race energy.
As a group of us stood around awaiting the start, I reflected on how lucky I was to have gone through so much and still be able to physically show up for something I enjoy and has been such a big part of my past decade. One girlfriend (suffering from injury) announced her retirement from the sport as recovery from her ailment did not seem conducive to the sport.
Without hesitation my reply came quickly, “Things could be worse.”
Her response, a shrug and simple smile. It was in that moment I was reconnected with the reality I live with daily. If being honest I feel I’ve lived this way for quite some time, cancer just seemed to turn up the volume.
Even as I type this, I reflect on how fortunate I am to, despite the past year and a half, still have a body which is strong and able to carry me out for a three mile walk, session on the Peloton or well … you name it.
I still don’t know if the friend got what I was throwing down. Illness has a way of altering the lenses we see through. As I’ve shared in past pieces, prior to my own diagnosis I’ve just walked this path with more than I care to share. Some are thriving and making the most of all the days, while others are not quite as fortunate. I’ll never understand how that all works.
So Monday morning as I reflected on that race conversation, I thought about what that message might be for our readers. Granted, my hope would be that most reading this are already in touch with their good fortune, be it by way of family, supportive friends or good health. Yet reality has taught me, most especially this past year, that not all are so inclined.
I try and teach this to my children, almost to a fault.
My words first came back to greet me in the face with awareness almost a decade ago. While I don’t recall the exact incident or disappointment or displeasure, I do recall the setting and the players. My duo and I were at the Leader office and as the disappointment was addressed, my son (then 7) was quick to respond with, “On the bright side, mommy…”
As I looked to him with astonishment, colleague and longtime friend, Corey Rogers simply said, “He gets that from you. Your children are sponges.”
Perhaps she was right. I know for fact I’ve seen it time and time again, in my children as well as others. Children are indeed sponges.
So here’s the point … T’s wisdom for this week.
We all have a bright side. Sometimes it just may be a bit overshadowed by a glooming/dark cloud. That’s no fun and not always easy to come by, but it’s true.
Circling back to that simple race that I had to walk versus run, one year ago that wasn’t possible; it’s all baby steps and perspective.
Days can be tough, some more than others, so when you find yourself there try and recall a sweet little seven-year-old who just looked at the bright side.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.